Horse Health

Video: CO Congressman Pleads Case to STOP Federal Sterilization Experiments on Wild Horse Mares

Many thanks to any and all who helped inform the good Congressman on the insanity of the BLM’s plan to use and abuse wild horse mares in unconscionable and inhumane sterilization experiments.

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21 replies »

  1. This is a good start and we need to go the rest of the way. As we thank Congressman Polis, we need to also help him understand that our Wild Horses & Burros are NOT overpopulated.

    iSPMB (International Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Burros)

    Click to access ISPMB_newsletter_June_2013.pdf

    With 75% of the herds on public lands having less than viable populations, why would we advocate for birth control? Are we not agreeing with the BLM and opposition that there are too many wild horses on public lands? Has this led to BLM’s push for permanent sterilization?

    Why are we not pushing for “natural management” as ISPMB has done for the last 16 years? When the family structures are intact and not disrupted through roundups, there is stability within the herds and populations grow at a very slow rate! We have proven that!


    • Louie, great info but do you have anything more recent from Princeton? The link was from 2013, it would be great to learn what Princeton is doing now and plans for future research.


      • This congressman also needs to be aware that the BLM already made the attempt to spay mares at Sheldon! It was a disaster there & no one ever really knew exactly how many mares died – supposedly it was 10%, but there was no follow up once the mares were turned loose!


      • Maggie close…it was USFWS. It happened in Oregon and LL has documentation on her website. They had between 27-33 mares. 3 mares died and the rest as I remember it were released the following day with zero followup care.

        The surgery that is being proposed looks to be in upright squeeze chutes. Not in any surgical suite…similar to what Barbaro had. Sticking ones arm up a horses hinny is a sure fire method for infection.

        Paralytic drugs while reaching in grabbing ovaries, yanking them out…what part of humane anything is this? Who exactly will be dking the follow up care? BLM? We know how caring they are in terms of pain management and infection.

        Just ggggrrrrr on the whole thing.


      • Thanks Margaret – I think I knew that at some point – but with all the crap the BLM is doing – things sort of all run together! Know what I mean? (nice to hear from another Margaret)!!


      • And Wild Burros Herds have almost been wiped out

        BLM Advisory Board meeting Sept 9-11, 2013
        Dr. Lori Eggert, University of Missouri – Genetic Diversity

        12 burro HMAs with populations between 2 and 49 animals.

        Burro populations do need priority for genetic management.

        Maintenance of genetic diversity over time is going to require higher population size than even the largest HMA now has.


      • Thanks, Louie. Still nothing current there about any Princeton research or publications. Please post if you come across any.


      • IcySpots, you could contact them and possibly talk to Karen Sussman. I think she would be able to tell you a great deal more about the current research project. The work that they have already accomplished is monumental and that took almost two decades to complete.


  2. Maggie, you are right about the Sheldon mares. It was done in NV by the Dept. of Ag if I remember right. There were fatalities.


    • Too bad this Congressman didn’t have that info! I really wonder how many in that room were awake & paying attention to him. If I’m not mistaken it gave the time of his speech as midnight – which I thought was odd.


  3. If OSU and BLM insist in perpetrating this “research” using taxpayer dollars, we must demand full access to observe them and rights to freely film and publish their “work.” It should be beyond obvious mutilated, infected or dead mares are not going to reproduce. But wait, wasn’t it our BLM that published reports of a dead mare foaling this spring?
    We must insist on independent observers and immediate as well as followup release of information, videos and photographs. Otherwise, I formally withdraw approval of any of my tax dollars paying for this pointless and inhumane experimentation.


  4. It’s so good to see more and more members of the House and Senate see the real truth. Rep. Polis was a non-believer until Colorado advocates were tireless in educating his aides with facts and documented information.


  5. I read somewhere Mr. Polis withdrew this amendment but can’t seem to find that information again. While searching, I found this article, published in Utah on a pro-Constitution site:

    Colorado’s Representative Jared Polis offers Amendment to prevent surgical sterilization of wild horses and burros.

    BLM and OSU approve dangerous experiments in storm of controversy.

    WASHINGTON, DC (July 15, 2016) – Colorado Representative, Jared Polis offered Amendment 128 (House Report 114-683) in the House of Representatives, “to help prevent the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from destroying this iconic symbol (Wild Horses and Burros) using funds allocated to be used for surgical sterilization of wild horses.” Polis’ amendment was offered to open a bipartisan debate. The Amendment gives Chairman Ken Calvert and other Republican committee members different strategies to handle the issue. Rep. Polis opened his remarks by saying, “Mr. Chairman, Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros are a living symbol of the historic and pioneer spirit of the west, like in my home state of Colorado.”

    The Amendment comes on the heels of Oregon State University’s agreement to participate in BLM’s barbaric and inhumane Mare Sterilization Research which involves life-threatening experiments to sterilize mares (both pregnant and open) as well as fillies as young as 8 months of age. The proposed experiments are invasive, inhumane operations which have no justifiable application and are, by the BLM’s own admission, risky. “There is not a single thing that makes any sense about this horrific experiment,” stated Lisa Jacobson DVM, an Equine Veterinarian who has worked with both domestic and wild horses for decades. She continues, “I’m so ashamed for the veterinarians involved with this barbarism. Shame on them & on the BLM. Absolutely unbelievable.”

    These brutal experiments are being conducted in the name of population suppression. Yet they will simply waste taxpayer monies while failing to address reductions in reproduction using non-invasive techniques. In its exhaustive review of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program in 2013. the National Academy of Sciences recommended the reversible fertility control vaccine, PZP, which causes no hormonal disruption, can be remotely delivered to selected wild mares. This technology has long been proven as a safe, practical way to manage wild horse gene pools — and to avoid costly, traumatic roundups and excessive warehousing of those removed from the range. Sterilization is no alternative to existing and humane management tools.

    In his presentation Rep. Polis pointed out the following:
    Wild free-roaming horses and burros are the living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West. My amendment will help to prevent the BLM from destroying this iconic symbol.
    What distinguishes America’s wild horses from their domestic counterparts is their natural behaviors and their social organization. Surgical sterilization will take the wild out of wild horses by removing the horses’ ability to produce the reproductive organs that drive their natural behavior.
    Sterilization can be done on both male and female horses. In both cases, the experts have flat out said they are bad ideas. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) stated clearly that castrating stallions will cause “loss of testosterone and consequent reduction in or complete loss of male-type behaviors necessary for maintenance of social organization, band integrity, and expression of a natural behavior repertoire.”
    Not only do these procedures destroy the wild nature of the horses, but they are gruesome, dangerous and a waste of taxpayer dollars. The NAS advised against the surgical removal of ovaries, warning “The possibility that ovariectomy may be followed by prolonged bleeding or peritoneal infection makes it inadvisable for field application.”
    This procedure is a waste of taxpayer dollars because it would cost millions of dollars and it is entirely impractical to surgically sterilize 40,000 wild stallions and mares, a number that many disagree with BLM, is accurate.
    BLM has a better, and far cheaper tool. The PZP birth control vaccine as an example– is deliverable via remote dart and cheap, at $25 a dose. It is 95% effective in preventing pregnancy for a year.
    This proposal by the BLM has raised overwhelming opposition by the public. Over 20,000 citizens submitted comments in opposition to this plan.
    The public wants wild horses protected, not surgically mutilated. Polls show that about 3 in 4 Americans want wild horses protected on public lands and 80 percent oppose horse slaughter.
    I ask for support on my simple amendment that will make sure the BLM spends our taxpayer dollars more wisely and protects an iconic symbol of the American west.

    Rep. Polis’ staff worked with several organizations to craft this amendment. Volunteer representatives from The Cloud Foundation (TCF) and other wild horse advocacies as well as staff from American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) were pleased to provide technical assistance.

    Ginger Kathrens, TCF Founder and Volunteer Executive Director who serves as Humane Advocate on the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board states, “This surgery is not practical unless you don’t care if a significant portion of the animals die.” She continues, “Both the BLM and Oregon State University have ignored the storm of protest over the proposed experiments.”


    Polis Offers Amendment. Rep.Jared Polis (D-CO-02) offers amendment against surgical sterilization

    BLM Mare Sterilization Research EA


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